By Scott Heric
In news ripped from the headlines, Amazon workers voted to form a union on Friday, April 1. They’re the latest to jump on the union bandwagon, following in the footsteps of Starbucks employees, who just recently put their company on notice.
As American workers band together to demand higher wages and better working conditions, employees are unionizing in droves, with younger Gen-Z workers leading the way.
Union leaders have their work cut out for them as they scramble to organize the logistical tasks needed for this fresh surge in membership. Meetings, mitigating member issues, mobilizing, educating, and communications all fall under the responsibility of the union head.
For Labor Unions to best serve their membership, services like Unionly are stepping up to the plate to make the process easier for union organizers.
Maintain Positive Relationships With Members
Unionly is designed to save union leaders time and frustration by supplying them with an easy-to-use payment platform created specifically for the needs of unions. Unionly takes the burden of payment management off leadership, allowing for an intuitive platform to do the heavy lifting so that leaders can focus their energy on advocacy, employee support, negotiating, and organizing.
Union dues have traditionally been collected through payroll deductions. This process has been problematic, as they have used it as a union-busting tactic. To keep control of union dues by creating its own system, the organization can maintain control of its future success.
With Unionly, organizations can create custom dues payment pages that best suit their needs. Members can quickly pay their union dues from their phones, desktops, or mobile devices with these pages. They can also automate their recurring dues payments so nothing is ever late or defaulted. The platform provides maximum flexibility, and union leadership won’t have to worry about adding “chasing payments” to their laundry list of duties.
Reduces the Risk of Fraud
Wherever money changes hands, there is a risk of fraud. Historically, unions have been notorious for a lack of transparency in business practices.
Having an online, digital record for every transaction is what Unionly provides its clients. Within the system, you have a record of everything. Someone can’t change the records or have the money go missing without a paper trail.
Allows you to be the guardian of your organizational activities.
Unionly doesn’t just make dues-paying easier; it is a one-stop-shop for managing your other union leadership responsibilities, such as hosting a union event. Through Unionly, you can host unlimited fundraisers for your organization. You can collect new member registration and create a custom online store for union gear. Unionly can also help you manage event registration and sponsorships.
Unionly acts as the gatekeeper. You can look at the records and see what’s going on. You can control people or prevent them from doing things they shouldn’t do, and it allows you to manage your budget and control accounts without worrying about things going awry.
If a manager wants to delegate roles, the system allows for this with accountability. Having an accurate account of everything makes everything run a lot smoother.
Identifying Sources of Income
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 14.3 million union members in the United States. We live in a digital age, and moving the management of your union — from dues to events and membership — to a digital platform will allow your organization to grow and flourish. Any organization that wants to survive long-term needs to offer online payment options, as the days of sitting down to write out a check are quickly ending.
Instead of just sending in a check for your union dues, everything has shifted online where it’s a pay button. This new method allows for documentation of specific dues or merchandise so that the organizers can identify where it’s coming from and what it’s for.
Union leaders and even members may be concerned about the technology learning curve, but the Unionly platform makes everything simple for even the tech novice. Online payments alone have boomed across all industries, and most people are adept at managing their banking and bill payments online. In most bill-paying scenarios, cash and check payments are becoming less common and will probably be utterly obsolete. Transitioning to a platform that manages membership dues and other transactions for your union makes good sense.
With Unionly, you can itemize that hundred-dollar payment, and you’ll know forty was for dues, twenty was a donation, twenty was an event registration, and twenty was for merchandise. When you have an accurate accounting of your records and control the process, the union can keep its autonomy and power.
Identify cost savings by removing inefficient processes
Going digital means saving on paper, printing, and other wasteful costs. If you had everything going from manual to digital, you could save time printing. With the time to do something in a physical ledger versus doing it all digitally, you can track how many hours you’re able to spend. Or, looking at it from the union member-side, how much time did you save in paying your dues online instead of driving them in and dropping off a check? It’s a huge time saver and convenience for all parties.
Besides saving time, total transparency, and simplicity for the union managers, Unionly integrates with accounting software and is PCI compliant, which could prevent a potential audit and expensive fines.
We set things up in such a way so that they are not the subject of data theft and PCI fines, which can be significant. Time is one of our most valuable assets. How many of us sit down and calculate the value of an hour’s worth of our time? Unionly allows you to have everything in one centralized place, saving precious time and money.
Scott Heric is the Co-Founder of Unionly, he was born and raised in Seattle. He helped develop sales and account management for Avvo, growing from 30 to 500 people over 7 years. After Avvo, Scott took a Chief of Staff role at Snap Advance, which at the time was part of a company called Snap Mobile Inc. For over 4 years he oversaw development of the product, marketing, sales, and account management, leading to the company being the leading digital fundraising platform in higher education. Having worked on the concept for Unionly for over 3 years and after being acquired in January of 2020, Scott began to really think about making Unionly a reality and in April of 2020, that dream came true.